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Non Materialistic Arguments Against Christianity


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Attention non materialists and members of religions other than Christianity, what kind of arguments do you use when debating xtians?

 

For example, arguments against the existence of a personal god would not exactly work for someone who is theistic but not into xtianty. And a criticism of a xtian's use of the god of the gaps fallacy would not work for one who also believes in some kind of supernatural realm.

 

But enough from me, what does everyone think?

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There need be no argument against any supernatural belief such as Christianity. The burden is for them to argue their case for their assertion, win or lose. But I see where you're going with this.

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Well, I'm a materialist, but I also lean towards Buddhism. Buddhism (at least the versions I pay the most attention to) is much more about "taste and see" than christianity is - it's much more pragmatic. So my arguement against christianity is that it didn't work. It didn't help me deal with life better, didn't fix my anxiety issues, and didn't make me into a more moral person. In fact, it worked against many of those things. Non-christian ideas are much more effective at making me a better person.

 

Sometimes I get a little nervous using that line of reasoning, like everything in life should be about Truth and facts, not squishy things like morality. I think... that's unhealthy. Not that truth is a bad thing, but that a quest for collecting information without applying it makes you informed but not wise or good or nice. I was raised in a very doctrine-obsessed church who cared more about you believing the right thing and following a certain subset of rules than about being an overall good person. I suppose there's forms of liberal christianity that would be better, but humanist/spiritual atheist/buddhism-curious has proved to "bear more fruit" in my life than anything else I've tried.

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I find it's best not to debate them on the whole of their religious beliefs: those are nearly always held too deeply for you to make a difference. Instead, I try to debate them on specific theological or moral issues that I think are destructive to their lives and the lives of others.

 

This gives you a lot more room to work in, and brings the tension down since you are only attacking one part of their deeply held beliefs, instead of the whole. It also makes it easier to tell illustrative stories and to appeal to their emotions while backing it up with factual information. When attempting to convince someone of something, it's best to give them both emotional and intellectual reasons to think about the subject later on.

 

Personally, I usually argue from within their own framework, by talking about the teachings of Jesus, as the honest truth is most of the destructive aspects of the religion run in direct opposition to what the man actually taught. (Obviously, this requires that you studied the teachings yourself, but for me the process of discovering the difference between Jesus and what I had been taught was significant enough to stick with me for good.)

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Every single religion or belief system aside from Christianity is an argument against Christianity. Christians have to convince you by showing better proof. And that, they just don't have. Only about 1/3 of the world is some kind of Christian (and even then, there's lots of mutually exclusive sects within it).

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Oh cool, someone from across the river! I work in Louisville BTW.

 

Anyway, mainly what I'm looking for is some new arguments I may have not heard before. I understand the burden of proof is ultimately on them as they're always the ones coming to me to argue (Or "witness" as I'm sure they would prefer it to be called.), and usually when I get stuck arguing this stuff I make it clear that I profess no belief in the supernatural and they must first demonstrate evidence of it's existence using controlled experiments. This usually shuts the argument down, not because I've convinced them of a materialistic worldview, but because they realize that without the necessary prerequisite of my belief in such things of any sort, their arguments are DOA in my mind.

 

However, when I was reading another thread the other day, the thought struck me that people of non xtian faiths would probably find many of the arguments normally used by atheists and the like to be unusable. Things like Russell's Teapot, the FSM, etc. would just seem run counter to their faith as well.

 

Nonetheless, they must have developed some pretty good counter-apologetics of their own, or else they wouldn't be here right?

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I have found that it really isn't about the specifics of what someone believes, but how they believe in general. A concrete-literal thinker will interpret their religion in a concrete-literal way, and someone who is able to think in metaphors, in "as-if" mode of thought, will understand their religion in not-literal ways. You can't apply the same arguments that 'debunk' myth as literal facts, to someone who thinks in more abstract terms. And likewise, you can't expect someone who thinks in concrete-literal terms to get 'as-if' thought. It simply can't enter into their mode of thinking.

 

What this is is a traditionalist mentality, and that applies as much to all religions as it does to all cultural customs and general worldviews of values and truths as well. So I'd say, gauge how they think in general and shape your response to that. For instance, "I hear what you're saying, but I just can't understand these things as literally as you do. I think it's a lot more nuanced than simply believing that people literally walked on water, and whatnot." It's a lot more effective communication rather than trying to convince they they're wrong and you're right arguing at the same level, i.e, it's literally true versus literally false. Step out of arguing the flip side of the same coin and exchange it for a new currency.

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Here is a thought: simply take the Christian's beliefs and show that they contradict the real world - or better yet, show that the beliefs are contradictory.  That method should work for materialists and non-materialists.

 

For example, if the Christian believes that participation in church should transform people to be more Christ-like, then you can show that this does not seem to be true.  Personally I wish somebody would study the effects of religion on the believer.  It would be interesting to know which religions benefit people, how they benefit people, how long it takes, etc. (sort of like a Consumer Reports rating of religions)

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  • 4 weeks later...

Not so much an argument against them as an argument to try and have them make.  I don't disagree that a deity could exist, however, making the case that it is their and only their god-construct ends up leading down some very fun roads.

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